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This is immediately followed by a narrative in which the resurrected Jesus instructs the disciples to remain in Jerusalem to await the gift of the Holy Spirit. They ask him if he intends now to "restore the kingdom to Israel," a reference to his mission as the Jewish Messiah , but Jesus replies that the timing of such things is not for them to know After this, Jesus ascends into a cloud and disappears, a scene known to Christians as the Ascension.

Two "men" appear and ask why they look to the sky, since Jesus will return in the same way he went. From this point on, Jesus ceases to be a central figure in the drama of Acts, while the Holy Spirit becomes the prime actor, performing great miracles through the disciples and bringing the Gospel to all people. The apostles, along with Jesus' mother , his brothers, [2] and other followers, meet and elect Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot as a member of The Twelve.

On Pentecost , the Holy Spirit descends on them. The apostles hear a great wind and witness "tongues of flames" descending on them. Thereafter, the apostles have the miraculous power to " speak in tongues " and when they address a crowd, each member of the crowd hears their speech in his own native language. Three thousand people reportedly become believers and are baptized as a result of this miracle Peter , along with John, preaches to many in Jerusalem , and performs miracles such as healings, the casting out of evil spirits , and the raising of the dead ch.

A controversy arises due to Peter and John preaching that Jesus had been resurrected. Sadduceean priests—who, unlike the Pharisees , denied the doctrine of the resurrection —have the two apostles arrested. The High Priest, together with other Sadduceean leaders, question the two but fear punishing them on account of the recent miracle at the Temple precincts.

Having earlier condemned Jesus to the Romans, the priests command the apostles not to speak in Jesus' name, but the apostles make it clear they do not intend to comply The growing community of Jewish Christians practices a form of communism: "selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. As their numbers increase, the believers are increasingly persecuted. Once again the Sadducees move against them. Some of the apostles are arrested again.

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The leader of the Pharisees , Gamaliel , however, defends them, warning his fellow members of the Sanhedrin to "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. An internal controversy arises within the Jerusalem church between the Judean and Hellenistic Jews, [3] the latter alleging that their widows were being neglected. The Twelve , not wishing to oversee the distributions themselves, appointed Stephen and six other non-Judean Jews for this purpose so that the apostles themselves can concentrate on preaching Many in Jerusalem soon join the faith, including "a large number of priests.

Although the apostles themselves thus manage to stay out of trouble and gain converts among the Jewish religious establishment, Stephen soon finds himself embroiled in a major controversy with other Hellenistic Jews, who accuse him of blasphemy. At his trial, Stephen gives a long, eloquent summary of providential history, but concludes by accusing those present of resisting the Holy Spirit , killing the prophets , and murdering the Messiah.

This time, no one steps forward to defend the accused, and Stephen is immediately stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr ch. One of those present and approving of his death is a Pharisee named Saul of Taursus, the future Saint Paul. As a result of Stephen's confrontation with the Temple authorities, a widespread persecution breaks out against those Jews who affirm Jesus as the Messiah.

Many believers flee Jerusalem to the outlying areas of Judea and Samaria , although the apostles remain in Jerusalem. Saul is authorized by the High Priest to arrest believers and put them in prison.

In Samaria , a disciple named Philip [4] performs miracles and influences many to believe. One of the new believers is Simon Magus , himself a miracle worker with a great reputation among the Samaritans. Peter and John soon arrive in order to impart the gift of the Holy Spirit —something Philip is apparently unable to do—to the newly baptized. Simon Magus is amazed at this gift and offers the apostles money that he too may learn to perform this miracle. Peter takes offense at this offer, declaring, "may your money perish with you.

The apostles continue their journey among the Samaritans, and many believe. Philip also converts an Ethiopian eunuch, the first Gentile official reported to join the new faith Paul of Tarsus , also known as Saul, is the main character of the second half of Acts, which deals with the work of the Holy Spirit as it moves beyond Judea and begins to bring large numbers of Gentiles into faith in the Gospel. In one of the New Testament 's most dramatic episodes, Paul travels on the road to Damascus , where he intends to arrest Jews who profess faith in Jesus.

He fell to the ground" and Paul becomes blind for three days In a later account Paul hears a voice saying: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? In Damascus, Paul is cured from his blindness and becomes as ardent believer.

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The Jerusalem community is suspicious and fearful of him at first, but he wins the apostles ' trust and faces danger from the Hellenistic Jews whom he debates. After this, the church in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoys a period of growth and relative peace. Peter, meanwhile, conducts several miraculous healings, including the raising of the female disciple Tabitha from the dead During Peter's travels, a Roman centurion named Cornelius receives a revelation from an angel that he must meet Peter. Peter himself, meanwhile, has a dream in which God commands him to eat non- kosher food, which Peter has never done previously ch.

The next day, Peter eats at Cornelius' home and preaches there. Several Gentiles are converted, and Peter baptizes them. His critics are silenced, however, when Peter relates the above events. Soon a sizable group of Gentile believers has joined the faith in Syrian Antioch, the Roman Empire 's third largest city. The Jerusalem church sends Barnabas, a Levite , to minister to them. It is here that the followers of Jesus are first called Christians. Christian prophets, one of whom is named Agabus, come to Antioch from Jerusalem and predict to the Anitochans that a famine will soon spread across the Roman world.

A collection is taken up to send aid to the Judean church. Peter, meanwhile, is imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa, [10] but miraculously escapes. Agrippa himself is soon slain by an angel after allowing himself to be honored instead of God ch. Probably several years later, Barnabas and Paul set out on a mission to further spread the faith They travel first to Selucia and Cyprus , and then to Asia Minor, preaching in synagogues and visiting existing Christian congregations throughout the region.

They have many adventures, often running afoul of Jewish leaders. They establish local churches and appoint leaders to guide them, finally returning to Antioch for a long stay. At Antioch, a controversy arises when members from Jerusalem arrive and insist that Gentile believers must be circumcised Paul and Barnabas then travel to Jerusalem and consult with the apostles—a meeting known as the Council of Jerusalem Paul's own record of the meeting is apparently recorded in Galatians 2. Paul and his associates strongly disagree.

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After much debate, James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church, decrees that Gentile members need not follow all of the Mosaic Law, and in particular, they do not need to be circumcised. Paul's party, however, is required to accept that Gentiles must obey the commandments against eating food sacrificed to idols, meat that is not fully cooked, and meat of strangled animals, as well as from sexual immorality.

Paul and Barnabas now plan a second missionary journey. However, they have a falling out over whether John Mark should accompany them, Paul objecting on the grounds that he had deserted them during their first journey and returned to Jerusalem. Paul takes Silas with him and goes to Derbe and then Lystra, where they are joined by Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man.


  • Book of Acts?
  • Hermosa oscuridad (Spanish Edition)?
  • Bible Search.
  • Un viaggio di dire (Italian Edition).
  • The Acts of the Apostles/Preface.
  • The Background of Acts.

According to Acts , Paul circumcises Timothy before continuing his journey, in order to satisfy the objections of conservative Jews. Paul spends the next several years traveling through western Asia Minor and founds the first Christian church in Philippi. He then travels to Thessalonica, where he stays for some time before departing for Greece. In Athens , he visits an altar with an inscription dedicated to the Unknown God, and when he gives his speech on the Areopagos, he declares that he worships that same Unknown God, which he identifies as the Christian God.

In Corinth, he settles for more than a year but faces charges that he was "persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law. At Ephesus, he gains popularity among the Gentiles, and a riot breaks out as idol-makers fear that Paul's preaching will harm their business, associated with the Temple of Artemis , one of the Seven Wonders of the World ch. During these travels, Paul not only founds and strengthens several churches; he also collects funds for a major donation he intends to bring to Jerusalem.

Likewise in Caesarea, Paul is warned by the prophet Agabus that he will be arrested if he goes to the Holy City. Paul stubbornly refuses to be dissuaded, however. Upon Paul's arrival in Jerusalem, he is met by James, who confronts him with the rumor that he is teaching against the Law of Moses:. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.

What shall we do? To prove that he himself is "living in obedience to the law," Paul accompanies some fellow Jewish Christians who are completing a vow at the Temple and pays the necessary fees for them.

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Paul is recognized, however, and he is nearly beaten to death by a mob, accused of the sin of bringing Gentiles into the Temple confines Paul is rescued from being flogged when he informs a Roman commander that he is a citizen of Rome. Paul is then brought before the Sanhedrin. He runs afoul of the Sadduceean High Priest, but cleverly plays to his fellow Pharisees on the council by claiming that the real issue at stake is the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead Paul wins a temporary reprieve but is imprisoned in Caesarea after a plot against his life is uncovered.

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There, before the Roman governor Felix, Paul is confronted again by the High Priest, and once again Paul insists that, although he is indeed following of "The Way," the real reason he is being accused by the Sadducees is that he believes in the doctrine of the resurrection, as do most Pharisees. Paul remains imprisoned in Caesaria for two years.

He later preaches before Agrippa II and is finally sent by sea to Rome, where he spends another two years under house arrest From there he writes some of his most important letters. For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the central themes of Acts is the idea that Jesus' teachings were for all humanity— Jews and Gentiles alike.